Hello Happy Souls,
I’m so happy to share the next post in my Self-Care Series on PYM. This next post is written by two amazing yoga instructors and business owners from AM Yoga in Grand Rapids, Ashley Yost & Mali Jane.
These ladies have not only created a successful business, but they have also changed so many lives through the practice of yoga, including mine. As you know, I struggle with anxiety and starting yoga has helped me tremendously. You guys know I only share content I stand behind, and I definitely stand behind the perspective of these two women. Let’s learn how and why yoga works…
Yoga. It makes you flexible and peaceful. You’ve heard this, right?
It’s true. But also true that these are generalized benefits of yoga and there is so much more to it than that.
Not only do we teach yoga but we practice it daily and have for years. We love to be the studio and/or teachers that help people awaken to the bigger picture of yoga and teach why this practice helps in your real life. The full benefits of yoga you can find by searching Google, we won’t take your time with those, but we will share with you our experience of how and why yoga works and what we have seen with the thousands of people we have taught over the years.
Let us clear up what we mean by ‘we teach yoga’ because yoga is wildly vast. We teach asana (the physical poses most often known to be yoga), we teach pranayama (breathing techniques used while doing the physical poses or as a practice on their own) and we teach meditation (a guided form of learning to do nothing, be still and give rest and awakening to the mind). All three of these techniques fall under the category of ‘yoga.’
Think of yoga as an umbrella term – similar to sports. There is basketball, football, soccer, etc. All different but fall under the term sports. Exact same for asana, pranayama and meditation. All yoga but slightly different practices.
Yoga practice is like a shower for your insides. It cleans out your inner body and mind using physical poses and breath. Hard to believe? Try it now. Close your eyes and let your mind become fully present to your breath. Take a slow breath from the bottom of your lungs all the way up to underneath your collar bones. Hold for 2 seconds and then exhale it slowly back out. Open your eyes. How do you feel? Refreshed? A little less tension? More clarity in your mind? In ONE breath you can notice a difference. Imagine breathing similar to that and adding in movements of your body for a longer period of time. You would feel rinsed and cleaned out from the inside.
When you do this for your body and mind you uplift your energy. When you have higher energy you feel better, have better thoughts, are able to put action in your life to do the things you want to do and are able to handle problems that arise with more ease.
Think about how you feel when you deep clean your room or your car. You feel good because you got rid of things you didn’t need and you created space.
This is what happens in a yoga practice. By focusing on your breath you begin to alleviate and clean out the thoughts that are taking up mental space and you no longer need. You are creating space in your body to alleviate tight muscles or to strengthen weak ones.
Ultimately you are teaching yourself how to use your breath to create space. When practicing yoga some people have the experience of less anxiety. They sleep better. Their body has less aches and pains. They are more creative and productive. They overall have a better quality of life and are able to use their intuition more effectively.
Connecting back to you is one of the highest forms of healing that we know and this is exactly what the practice offers for you. It is not about putting your leg behind your head, touching your toes or being able to sit still and not have thoughts. It is the practice and process of learning and connecting back to YOU. How to stay centered and aware when you are feeling nervous about a test or anxious about a conversation you need to have with someone. To use your body in an intelligent way to wake up to its power instead of talking negatively about it. You gain tools for your life so that you can live healthy, happy and fulfilled.
So why should you practice yoga?
Why should you sleep? Why should you work? Why do you want to be healthy? One can live anyway, have you thought about that? Why do you want to be happy? You can exist and live anyway, being happy or unhappy. Yoga is simply the skill to help the choice to live a greater quality of life.
You can also follow them on Instagram. This week they will be hosting a self-love class on Valentine’s Day, so if you’re local, go celebrate yourself and you body.
Thank you for reading PYM today! Sending positive vibes out on this Monday.